Benny stops off in Palmy on way to the top
He may not be regular Sunday night viewing any more, but Benny Tipene is doing anything but relaxing.
Since taking the bronze medal in singing competition The X Factor a week ago, the 23-year-old has been bounding between his home city of Palmerston North and Auckland.
He told the Manawatu Standard it was nice to be back in Palmerston North, even if only for a day at a time, to catch up with friends and family.
However, there were parts of town he was wary of.
"I'm avoiding The Plaza for a while. If it's anything like Queen St in Auckland, it'll be chaos."
Today marks another milestone with Tipene's first single, Walking on Water, being released digitally.
It will be available physically to buy on July 31.
"It has been a crazy few weeks but I am stoked to have the chance to release my music after X Factor, it has been a goal of mine for a long time to hit the radio airwaves. I can't wait to put out more music moving forward and hopefully tour New Zealand too".
Dealing with his newfound fame was one of the hardest parts about life post-reality TV, he said.
"It's nice to be recognised, but there are times when you just want to chill, and people come up to you and want photos and stuff like that.
"Pubs are definitely the worst place to go, because everyone has Dutch courage and asks for a photo."
Tipene said there was an upside to his popularity.
"I'm on 37,000 likes on Facebook - it's absolutely nuts - and I don't know how I would have got that without X Factor.
"It was only two minutes every Sunday, but it was two very important minutes in front of a quarter of the nation, or whatever it is."
TV show contestants are often quickly forgotten after the cameras stop rolling, and Tipene said he knew the hard work was just starting.
"The start of the career could be the start of X Factor, and the end of it could be the last episode.
"People just have to take it as a stepping stone, a good platform.
"My plan is to shake The X Factor thing from my name and do what I was doing beforehand."
Tipene said he could not talk about what was next until things were officially signed off, but outlined what he wanted to get done in the next year.
"It'll be great to have a couple of EPs or an album out . . . and have toured. Then I could go into hibernation for a couple of months and write new stuff."
But that may involve a few life changes, including possibly moving away from Palmerston North - the city he often praised during the competition.
"I'm not too sure what the plan is with my living situation at the moment, but I'll maybe be more accessible in Auckland to magazines, radio, record labels - all that jazz. I don't want to leave Palmy, but you have to go where the work is."